Marc Leishman joined some rare air with his victory at the Zurich Classic on Sunday. It was the Victorian’s sixth PGA Tour win but his fifth since the 2017 season. Per the 15th Club, Leishman is one of just seven players with five or more wins in that span, and the company he joins his elite: only Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy have won as many times in that period.
Leishman’s tension-free process was especially on display when he chipped in during a crucial moment on the 16th hole after his partner, Cameron Smith, hit his tee shot in the water.
Marc Leishman with the chip-in, and we are tied on 17!
🇦🇺 vs. 🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/RJyDRbq2N5
— The Plugged Lie (@PluggedLiePod) April 25, 2021
How do you get Leishman-Ernie Els style smoothness (and speed) in your swing? Golf Digest Best Young Teacher Shaun Webb says it starts with reinterpreting how you think about power and speed.
“When you watch Marc swing, he looks so free,” says Webb, who teaches at the David Toms 265 Golf Academy in Shreveport. “Most amateurs think they have to ‘gear up’ to swing fast, so they grip it really tight and tense their forearms and biceps before they start. Then, to get more ‘extension’ – which they hear is good – they lock their lead elbow and during the swing.”
All that tension and restriction makes you swing slower, not faster.
“Instead of having the elbow locked, let your lead arm stay soft and slightly bent as you make your backswing,” says Webb. “You may notice your arm is still slightly bent at the top of the swing. That’s OK. A lot of long hitters look like that, and they have plenty of extension and speed. You’re looking for free and fast. It shouldn’t feel like you’re tensing up to throw a punch at something heavy.”